More than a dozen people who ran a casino from a villa in Dubai have been jailed, while five others were fined for gambling.
In an effort to purge the gambling dens runs from homes across the emirate, a Dubai Police captain said the force organised a raid in April on one such property in Al Rashidiya after a tip-off.
A team of officers made the late-night raid and found poker and roulette tables inside.
“We put a plan to deter gambling places in the city,” the police captain said in court documents.
“The two-floor villa has gambling tables, a cashier and other tools used in gambling. It has a surveillance system in all rooms and there was a service for providing beverages and food for customers.”
A second officer said they had seized several mobile phones in the raid, which led to prison sentences for 17 people.
“There was a room in the villa as a command room containing screens to monitor the other rooms and gambling areas,” he said. “There was a screen to show the bets. We seized three new iPhones inside the room.”
A Chinese citizen, 29, was charged with organising gambling at the secret den.
He was sentenced to one year in prison, fined Dh100,000 ($27,225) and will be deported on completion of his prison term.
The other 16 members of the group — who were aged between 21 to 39 and from Ethiopia, India, Nigeria and China — were working in the casino as cleaners, shisha servers, translators, a technician, a watchman and croupiers.
The female cleaners said the place was used as a gambling den.
Three female croupiers at the poker tables said they had also made sure no cheating happened while customers played roulette.
At Dubai Criminal Court they were charged with criminal abetting and each sentenced to three months in jail, fined Dh100,000 and will also be deported upon release.
Five customers from India, Iran, Indonesia and Britain who were found in the villa during the police raid denied engaging in gambling and claimed they were attending a party.
They were fined Dh10,000 each for gambling inside the villa.
All money and gambling tools have been confiscated by order of Dubai Courts.
This year, a Dubai Police officer uncovered an Asian gang of seven who ran a gambling den inside a clothes shop in the Al Fahidi area of the city.
UAE laws prohibit all forms of gambling, as well as the advertising of any form of gaming.